October 27th, 2005


Infected wounds and that sort of fun stuff

Hello, first post, blah blah blah fishsticks. :) This seems like an incredible community for someone who is as nit-picky as I am about details, and I'm so glad I found it.

That being said, here's my question (I couldn't find a good answer on Google, and despite the fact that I'm the weird chick who likes to read medical textbooks and the like for fun:

What would happen to someone with an infected wound if the wound was sealed up (let's say by healing magic) while still infected? I know that you MUST keep an infected wound open to allow for drainage, so I can only imagine that sealing it would be a Bad Thing. I just don't know exactly what would happen.

Any med students or doctors here who could help me out on this one?
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Housing types and outdoor holiday decoration in Britain

I've got a xmas HP fic to write, and I'd like to set it in the Eastern part of Britain. Are there any things in particular that the East of Britain has regarding architecture? I'm thinking of having the main character living in what would be a duplex here in the States. A large house, built to be two residences, sharing either one wall or having one of the residences above the other. Would they be called flats? I want him to not live in an apartment building, but someplace where he's got control of/access to a small front garden and maybe a shared back yard. Is that possible? Does it exist?

Also, do people decorate the outside of their houses for the holidays in Britain? How much? I know that, here, some people/neighborhoods go beyond-the-pale; I'm not looking for the Truly Bizarre, but the average. Would there be just door wreaths or would there be lights as well?

Thank you so much for any help or info.

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SPN feels so empty from callsigns OMG!

Film industry references, anyone?

I'll take "Things that a mid- to high-level actor would think really suck" for $500, Alex.

When the ______ deal/project fell through...

When he started getting voicemail every time he tried to call ______...

I think I'm probably looking for, say, a big-shot movie exec's name in the first one--Cameron comes to mind, but that's because I have Entourage on the brain; I want something that will resonate with the average reader. For the second, all I can come up with is "his agent/publicist," but I don't want to imply that my protagonist is on the skids in Hollywood; I'm looking for someone he thought he was close to on some kind of personal level, but has now realized he really isn't. (And a romantic ex won't work for the situation.)

I'm not wedded to those exact sentences, so other suggestions would be gratefully considered!
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MCL injury

I did learn a lot from google, e.g. the valgus test and how to care for a ligament injury, and the terminology for the various ligaments (when I started this search I didn't even know which ligament would be injured). However, there are a few things that I cannot find the answer to because my situation is somewhat odd.

1.) If a person suffered a partial tear to the MCL and did *not* receive proper treatment for it for three months (i.e. no ice, no brace, no therapy, and it's probably further abused during that time as well--the person is shoved down when he stands up, jerked to his feet when he stays down, the leg is kicked out from under him purposely, etc.), what kind of condition would the knee be in after those three months without care? How much use would he have of it? I know after a typical MCL injury the person is still ambulatory, but would that still be true in this situation?

2.) Given the above circumstances, what's the prognosis for this? I assume he'll always have a limp, but will it be slight? Severe? Will he be easily knocked off balance? Will it hurt him, or just be stiff? Will he need surgery immediately, eventually, or not at all?
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Poison, poison, my kingdom for a poison...

What a great and wonderful community this is, and how hard you can rock on Trivial Pursuit after having had it on your friends list for a while... :D

I figured I might as well post a question I've been contemplating for a while.

I need a poison that will kill in a way that to the non-expert would look like a heart-attack or other natural cause, but that a specialist could identify fairly easily. Preferably a rather slow and painful death - it only needs to look natural afterwards, not necessarily while doing the dirty work.

The particular story is fantasy genre, so there will be no modern science to detect it.
This also gives me some leeway with the actual poison - it needn't be an real one, but I'd prefer to use effects similar to those of a poison or substance known to exist. ( The 'but it could work' factor. )

My first rounds of googling hinted at strychnine, but maybe there's something even more suitable? Strychnine sounds rather bitter, and a tasteless poison would be better.

Edit: If some med student or the like could help me describe classical signs of heart failure as cause of death, it would be much appreciated. It's much easier to compare the results of poisoning to the real deal if you know what the real deal is.
So far my google-fu only finds warning symptoms of heart attack you can feel yourself while alive, nothing on how it's concluded as cause of death in someone found dead.

Edit 2: Most poisons suggested so far have symptoms that include diarrhea and / or vomiting. I'm more after something that's painful, but not overly messy. It should kill within half an hour, one hour tops. Cramps, panic, severe agony etc are all fine, more messy effects should preferably be avoided.
Lots of pain, but a decently dignified corpse sounds about right.

Also, some medical info about the similarities / differences between a natural death by heart failure and death caused by different poisons would be gold. What would an expert look for that could rule out natural death and hint at more sinister deeds?